Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘St. Paul

Part 2. Why Christian Catholic and Orthodox Churches do not circumcise new-born males?

This second post on circumcision was in reaction to Germany making it illegal to circumcise new-born and non adult males on religious ground https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2012/07/20/religious-circumcision-is-currently-illegal-in-germany-until-further-notice/

In the first 3 centuries, almost all Christian sects circumcised new-born males: They strictly abide by the Jewish laws for their daily customs, and circumcision was first on the list.

Mind you that there existed scores of Christian sects, each one forming a specific closed community, reading in particular Books that they compiled, and going about according to a particular set of laws, mostly matching the Jewish laws.

This trend continued until the year 325 as the Orthodox Byzantium Church, recognized formally by Emperor Constantine as one of the official religions in the Roman Empire, met in conclave and adopted four Books as valid sources of Jesus story and his message.

In fact, St.Paul had to fight the valiant fight against all the disciples huddled in Jerusalem in order not to impose circumcision on non-Jewish baptized Christians. Citizens  in the Roman Empire were not circumcised: a special tax was levied on circumcised adults in order to maintain the Temple in Jerusalem. And as the Temple was destroyed by Titus, the tax reverted to the Emperor treasury…

The disciples in Jerusalem were living comfortably, abiding more strictly to the Jewish Laws than any Jewish sects, and they were protected by the Roman Empire civil laws.

As St. Paul started establishing Christian communities every where he traveled, he was lenient on the circumcision law. Learning about this lax behavior of Paul, the disciples got on the road, on the steps of Paul, visiting newly established communities, just to rescind Paul’s circumcision position on the non-Jews, and forcing the new Christians to be circumcised…

By the early 4th century, as the Christians acquired formal recognition as an official religious status, the Orthodox Church started to emulate the Roman laws, customs, and traditions in order to fit better among the overwhelming pagan communities

Circumcision was abolished among the Orthodox Christians and they had no longer to pay the tax on being circumcised….

December 25 was adopted as the birth date of Jesus since Emperor Aurelian decreed as the date of the God-Sun, 260 years before.

Bishops donned purple garments and the pagan glamorous attire (as the Roman aristocracy) and pomp in order to show-off their new higher status among the classes…

The higher the Orthodox Church rose to the status of being considered the main religion in the Byzantium Empire, the faster they emulated the customs and tradition of the Empire and the harsher they persecuted the various Christian sects that refused to follow suit

Those “heretic” Christian sects, called the Churches of the Orient, had to flee eastward to the Persian Empire, east of the Euphrates River and beyond.

The heretic sects disseminated their message along the caravans of Silk Road and reached China and translated their Books to Chinese and to the languages along the road…

By the 6th century, the Church of Rome became the main power broker and imposed its theology as the Church of the West. The Catholic Church particularly targeted the Jewish religion as the nemesis of Christians and being responsible for crucifying the Christ and…

The uncircumcised youth, mostly the peasants and lower classes, were very convenient: They refrained forcibly from engaging in sexual activities (very sensitive penis) and even indulging in masturbation and were practically chaste until they got wed…

The new-born of the aristocratic families that were allied to the current King or Emperor, and supported by the Church, were incited to be circumcised. Why?

Circumcised youth are far more active sexually: the penis is far less sensible to the intercourse act.  These aristocrats were to show their superiority and manhood and were given free rein into raping all the girls they liked and procreating out-of-wedlock better races…

As political situations changed and newer aristocratic families came to power (associated with “usurping Kings”…) the former families were persecuted. All that was needed to recognize the male members of the enemies was to check the penis.  Those who fled to other cities, far from their original locations, they could be sentenced as Jews who were baptized for all kinds of reasons except the valid reason…

Misguided sense of Dignity? Dignity has roots….

Customs and traditions are based on sets of rules and rituals that a community tacitly acknowledges and agrees upon.  Dignity is implicitly to abide by these customs.

There is individual pride, but dignity is a collective criteria and you have two choices:

Either you disagree and remain in the community as a pariah 

Or You move on to another community with compatible dignity and be considered a foreign member until your descendants might be included as full members.

History did not record any influential individual, a monarch or a prophet, who managed to change the dignity criteria in his community during his life time:  Slight rules evolved after his death, due to his determination and political acumen.

Dignity developed from “rituals of sexual relationship”.

Dignity evolved to trade rituals, to religious rituals, to organization rituals (castes and classes) to set of rights and responsibilities (Constitutions for citizenship), but the climax of dignity has its roots in basic relationship rituals .  A few examples might set the proper framework for further development on dignity.

In around 510 BC, Rome was ruled by a monarch, King Tarquin.

The king’s son Sextus got jealous of a citizen boasting to him how happy he was with the beauty and chastity of his wife Lucrece. Sextus barged in the house of Lucrece and blackmailed her and raped her.  Lucrece gathered the extended members of her family and told them the story and then, she committed suicide in front of the assembly.  The peasants got angry for their trampled dignity, revolted, and chased out of the city all the members and cousins of the monarch’s family.  The consequence was a new system of government:  Two consuls are to be elected for one year and thus insuring two levels of check and balance.  This form of governance was successful for 5 centuries until the reign of the Caesars dominated.

Jesus tried to modify the Jewish daily rules and rituals (the 265 positive commandments relative to the number of bones in the human body and 365 negative commands to improve one negative tendency every day).  Jesus failed in his lifetime.  After his death, most of the disciples reverted to the same Jewish criteria of dignity.

St. Paul took on the task of transforming the criteria to be compatible to the spirit of Jesus’ message.  Soon, St Paul had to compromise as the disciples in Jerusalem visited each Christian community that Paul established in order to setting their comprehension of dignity “right”.  Most of the compromises were related to abridging women status, responsibilities, and rights in the communities.

In the western medieval period, the Roman Catholic Church instituted its customs and rituals and subjugated the other Christian schismatic sects to abiding by the same understanding of “Christian dignity“.  Consequently, the successive crusading campaigns, although financed by the merchants in order to conquering Egypt and opening up the shorter maritime route for the trade of spices and perfume, were launched by arousing the ignorant population for their “trampled” dignity in the pilgrimage locations such as Jerusalem.

Prophet Mohammad failed in his lifetime to transform the meaning of dignity in the nomadic customs.  Mohammad had to compromise and revisit prior verses in order not to lose everything.

Again, the newer versions were related to women status, rights, and inheritance.

Nothing changed in the customs and traditions of the tribes.  After Muhammad death, many people started collecting hadith, of what the Prophet said or did, in order to emulate this proper conducts  Aisha, the most learned and beloved wife of Muhammad, spent her life confronting and correcting extravagant hadiths.

Later, every monarch hired faqihs (religious scholars and judges) to inventing or interpreting hadith out of context to suit his interests.

As the Omayyad dynasty selected Damascus for Capital of the Islamic Arabic Empire, the Moslems were confronted with urban customs and a different meaning for dignity.  The elite Arabs from the Arabic Peninsula were merchants and were familiar with the Syrian urban and mostly Christian traditions; thus, the administration relied on the converted Christians and for the translation of manuscripts of other civilization.

In the 11th century, most of the Central Asian and Caucasus people were Moslems:  They favored and enjoyed stories on Muhammad’s sayings and deeds (the hadith) and cared less for the Coran’s message. Thus, they declared that the Coran is not to be interpreted or commented.  If there are contradictions in verses then, tough luck; read and move on.  The Coran was no longer the main source for what is dignity and honor to Moslems, but the stories told on Muhammad.

Modern western European “democracies” and republicanism established political structures compatible with a revised meaning of dignity, following higher levels of freedom of expression and dissemination of knowledge and education.

State social programs were promulgated and they became acquired rights for the citizens such as retirement, health care, education…

The problem was that the democratic system was transformed into giving far more privileges and responsibilities to the elite classes (and their appointed unethical and immoral technocrats) to govern and rule in the name of the citizens once the votes are in.

The trend was exacerbated as the elite governing oligarchy realized that people are willing to trade the dignity of sharing in policy making with greed and amusement (the apolitical citizen).  Consequently, credit cards with limits surpassing 50 times the yearly earning were invented for the citizens to indulge in consumer products and be amused.

The latest financial crash is turning the situation around:  There is no more free money to distribute.  The citizens are mainly angry with their cowardice and irresponsible behaviors by trading the dignity of responsibility in the political process to greed and amusement.  The new motto is:  “Amusement is a bonus after a job well done.”

The citizens were no fouls, but they had not the courage and determination to getting involved in studying and analyzing political and social programs before a dime is spent.

The citizens were accustomed to a form of lower level of dignity and now they are struggling to getting back to the streets.  How many scapegoats are to be sacrificed before the citizen is willing to return to shouldering his duties and responsibilities?

The poorer nations can no longer afford to support misplaced sense of western dignity.  The poorer classes in these capitalist systems can no longer suffer misplaced sense of dignity of the higher classes.

Note:  This article was published more than 15 months before the current Arab mass uprising in almost every Arabic State.  The upheaval take its roots to the want of regaining lost dignity:  Indignity or zul is the driving force behind this determined upheavals against absolute monarchs, dictators, and oligarchic infamous behaviors toward the common citizens.

The Syrian uprising has added the most basic of dimensions saying:  “We are not hungry.  We are not demonstrating for lack of food.  We want to fight the indignity (zil) and infamy we have been subjugated to for 40 years.”

No ruler can withstand the wrath of a people who is brandishing “dignity”as its motto. The Egyptian people are back to Tahrir Square:  It is about time that the army general staff relinquish power to civilian mechanisms.

Personally, I will consider that the Arab mass uprising have reached a qualitative level once the civic demand for equality between genders is the cornerstone for political transformation.  It would mean that religion is no longer the hidden power driving the people, but equal and equitable basic human rights.

Islam is one of the “heretic” Christian-Jewish sects,(Feb. 23, 2010)

A challenge to all theologians and social scientists

Before Emperor Constantine, who established Constantinople as Capital for the Roman Empire in the Orient (called Byzantium Empire) around 315 AC, there were hundreds of Christian sects in the Middle East.  Each sect had its dogma and its Bible (there were hundreds of versions).

The belief systems of these Christian sects differed greatly in the divinity of Jesus, the resurrection, the Holy Spirit, the status of the Virgin Mary (many would not even mention her name since women were considered impure), the status of Judas Iscariot, the rites, the language, the daily rituals, the status of the Old Testament, the communion of the flesh, the age to baptizing new converts, and to which race to focus on.

Many sects obeyed the laws of the Old Testaments in their integrity and many refused to adopt the Old Testament as part of their belief systems.

The Council of Nicaea (on the shore of Turkey) in 325 made things even worse: Constantine wanted to unify all the Christian sects into a religion of the Empire.  The notion of three Gods into one (Father, son, and Holy Ghost) were forced upon the sects as well as the Sanctity of Mary and many abstract concepts wrapped into the Credo.

Any sect that refused the unified Orthodox dogma, of the Emperor in power  at the time, was labeled “heretic” and was persecuted.  It turned out that, for over 70 years, successive Emperors were in favor of one or another “heretic” belief system, and a few emperor reverted to paganism.

Around the year 400, another Emperor reverted to the Orthodox dogma and the persecutions resumed and even intensified.  The heretic sects fled to beyond the Euphrates River under the dominion of Persia Empire and spread to the Arabic Peninsula and reached India and China.

Prophet Mohammad was from a clan that believed in one of these Christian-Jewish heretic sects that were established in Mecca; the father of Mohammad was a convert and his uncle was the Patriarch of the Christian sect.

In the year 1000, another schism took place between the Bishop of Rome (Catholic) and the Bishop of Constantinople (Orthodox) and another wave of persecution of heretic sects got under way.

The various Protestant “heretic” sects in the 16th century are but the latest in the variety of Christian sects and offshoot of ancient heretic Christian sects.

All that Prophet Muhammad did was to drop the abstract notions in the Orthodox dogma and to adopt the common denominator belief system of the various heretic Christian-Jewish sects in the Arabic Peninsula, Syria, and Iraq.

Thus, Islam combined the Old Testament integrally and the version of New Testament read by the Jewish-Christians sect, the Ebionites, of Mohammad’s tribe in the Mecca: the Patriarch of this sect was one of Muhammad’s uncles.

The Ebionites sect was fundamentally a Jewish sect that attached the teachings of Jesus (another Prophet) to the Old Testament.  This sect considered St.Paul as a heretic because he opened the religion to the “gentiles”.

Historical facts prove that the early Christians, and particularly the illiterate disciples lead by Jack, the eldest brother of Jesus, who conglomerated in Jerusalem were very conservative Essenism Jews:  Jesus was their Rabbi and they tried to follow his message.

When Peter finally marched out of Jerusalem it was to follow on the trail of Paul in order to dismantling Paul’s Christian communities and converting them to the Jewish laws.  Paul had to tone down his discourse and adopt a few Jewish social laws in order to counter the vehement practical attacks of the “Jerusalem sect of Christians“.

Islam became the unified Christian-Jewish heretic sect opposing the Orthodox Christian Church in Constantinople.  It is no surprise that the heretic Christians in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, and Palestine rallied and supported Islamic troops  against Byzantium and Persia.

After Constantinople fell in around 1450 to the Ottoman Empire, many of the non-Moslem Christian sects united politically to the Catholic Church in Rome, even though their dogma did not mesh nicely with the Catholic Credo.

Islam means submission (to God, the one and only).  I submit a challenge to all theologians, religious researchers, and philosophers of all religious denominations (monolithic or not).

My hypothesis is: The religious message of the Prophet Muhammad, during the first 13 years of proselytizing in Mecca, is identical to one of the Christian-Jewish sects. Let me suggest the following procedure or protocol:

First, select all the religious Christian sects till the Council of Nicaea in 325; and then select the Christian sects after Nicaea until the year 400.

Continue the selection process of the sects after the split between Rome and Byzantium around the year 1000, then go over the Christian sects that were formed between 1000 to the Martin Luther schism, all the way to the modern Christian sects from Protestantism, Calvinism, Baptism, Methodism, Episcopalian, Armenians (Catholic and Orthodox), and all the sects in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and elsewhere.

Second, develop taxonomy of attributes in order to categorize all these Christian sects.

Third, allocate all the sects to one of six categories or more if need be.

Fourth, select the verses in Islam that correspond to the period of 13 years in Mecca, before the flight of the Prophet Muhammad to Medina (Yathreb) and the establishment of the first City-State of Islam

Five, assign each verse in that period to the taxonomy of step two.

Six, allocate the message of the prophet Muhammad in one of the categories chosen in step three.

The foundation to my hypothesis stems from reading a manuscript titled “Islam in its two messages: Christ and Muhammad.”

The author of the book is late Antoun Saadeh, a Lebanese of Christian Geek Orthodox denomination.  The book was written in 1942 and Saadeh proves that Islam is almost identical to the message of Christ when we analyze the verses of the Koran pronounced during Muhammad proselytizing of his message before the legislation period for the new community in Medina.

Since Christianity is an amalgam of many sects that split into schisms in the last two thousand years, I figured that, from a scientific perspective, it would be more appropriate to differentiate Christianity according to sects.

It would also be fitting to study Islam by analyzing the various Moslem sects; though the variations would be based more on the legislation (Chari3a) and Hadith (stories on Muhammad) than the fundamental spiritual content during the first 13 years of the message in Mecca.

I suggest to start with four broad categories: Catholic, Orthodox, Christian-Jews, and Jewish-Christians.  The basic differences are in the adoption of the Old Testament as act of faith and social regulations to follow.

There are Christians who do not adopt the Old Testament in their act of faith neither intrinsically or even using it in preaching and its myths in rhetoric; other use Old Testament as act of faith but do not adopt the Jewish laws for daily rituals; others adopt the Jewish laws either partially or entirely.

For example, Islam and Jehovah Witnesses may be allocated within the Jewish-Christian category because they abide by the nomadic Jewish laws for daily behaviors.

Note:  I find many resemblance between St.Paul and the prophet Muhammad.  Both avatars of God had apparitions and revelations and did what they had to do to spreading the message.  Their message was to be universal:

1. Paul disseminated monotheism to the Mediterranean Sea basin (Roman and Byzantium Empires) and Mohammad spread monotheism to all of Asia (India, China, and Indonesia).

2. Paul’s method took 300 years to grabbing 10% share of the population; Mohammad’s method was more efficient, and rallied millions in just two decades.

Modern Europe re-defines Christianity; (Nov. 5, 2009)

A few years ago, the European Parliament was considering attaching a clause in the Constitution that Christianity is the foundation of Europe’s civilization. It didn’t pass and Europe saved its modern identity as promoter of human rights and human dignity. How could a religion (one of the many in Europe), one of the various attributes in the vast matrix of a civilization be the exclusive characteristics of Europe?  Europe is a heterogeneous society of Nordic, Slavic, and Mediterranean climate and cultures and was dominated intermittently by several Empires.

Modern Europe has extended to its citizens a minimum of human rights.  This respect to human dignity was not the case until late in the 20th century.  Respect of man did not evolve historically as a continuum but in bounds. Retrospective historical studies tend to discover just the illusion of human respect for rights and dignity.

Europeans claiming Christianity to be the foundation for Europe’s new trend for “mercy, forgiveness, and kindness” (trying to attach these attribute to Europeans) forget that for many centuries the strongest faith in Europe was the taste for violence such as in the Inquisition, the chasing out of the Moslems and Jews from Spain, the Crusading campaigns, the conquest of overseas lands with the benediction of Papal Rome, the division of the conquered lands among the European monarchs by Papal decrees, the religious mass massacres among the Christian sects and factions with Papal consent, the so many wars in Europe where the Catholic Church was an integral party, and the worst of all the Dark Age in Europe that lasted from 400 to the 15th century because the central religious power in Rome was apprehensive of rational thinking and forbade the influx of scientific works that might rob it of its temporal power.

There are Europeans claiming that it was Christianity that set the foundation of the individualistic character in Europe, a non-conformist attitude to the collective norms, rituals, and traditions, the will for self-realization rather than clinging to the behavior of rank and file; these chauvinistic Europeans are also relying on entrenched illusions.  The Christian Church was the personification of harassing free thinkers and burning who defied the Christian central dogma for many centuries. Once baptized as a Christian at birth, you had no other alternatives but to obey the Christian laws.  Christianity was the most exclusive religion among all religions:  It coerced colonized people by force into Christianity.  As “Saint” Augustine wrote “It does not matter the faith of a new convert; what counts is what time and rituals will produce in the long run on him and his descendents.”  This is exactly the tactics of western globalization “Promote the consumerism of technological gadgets and the world will acquire faith in the superiority of western civilization”

It is paganism that disseminated liberal thinking of individuality.  A pagan could worship any other idol in foreign lands (with different name but with the same potency in his mind) and he was never persecuted. A pagan could switch idols that suited his interest of the period and his community would not persecute him or ex-communicate him on his God’s preferences.

The modern principle of universality (which means that individuals of all genders, races, colors, and origins have the same mental potentials and capabilities as human and that the differences reside in societies) was never a Christian dogma. Christianity never had this meaning of universality in its dictionary of laws; a slave was a slave by birth and should accept his condition and offers his miseries and plights as sacrifices to God Jesus who suffered for the entire humanity and forgiveness of the “original sin” that never existed. The discovery by the Europeans of the universality of mankind was due to the de-colonization process, an implicit discourse on the role of society during the 20th century.

How could equality and fraternity have emerged from Christianity in order to claim that Europe’s roots are Christian? Lactance in 314 wrote “People are born equal. In societies where people are not considered equal then justice is not served.  Yes, within the Christian communities there are rich and poor, masters and slaves by the flesh but they are equal in the spirit.”  How sweet! Lactance was repeating St. Paul’s ejaculation that added oil to the machinery of the caste system. Gregory “the Great” considered charity what was offered to nobles reduced to poverty because of the huge suffering they felt of being considered within the rank of the poor classes; thus, the true poor people by birth were so used to their way of life that they didn’t need much charity to survive.

The Western Christian Churches (Catholic and Protestants) supported and maintained the caste system of nobility and the “others” non-noble classes.  The feudal lord had the right to crush his vassals with all the might he possessed as a father had the rights over his kids.

There are many Europeans who claim that it was Christianity that promoted the separation of the spiritual off the temporal power on the basis of Jesus saying “Give to Caesar what is due to Caesar and to God was is due to God”;  this is total nonsense.  Most of the wars in Europe were launched by monarchs against the temporal influence of Papal Rome in state matters.  Neither the Catholic Church not the various Protestant sects relinquished their temporal “rights”.

Protestantism had this indirect advantage that it weakened the central power of Papal Rome; thus, Islam scientific manuscripts were permitted to enter Europe; this new openness to rational discovery was the main catalyst for the Renaissance period and the qualitative jump into modernity.  It does not mean that the previous sentence of Jesus had no influence in the mind of modern Europe; it does not mean also that Christianity willingly relinquished its temporal influence based on that sentence.  The Prophet Mohammad also urged Moslems to acquire knowledge even from China; it worked for four centuries; it does not mean that Moslems remembered that encouragement most of the time.

There are Europeans, when pressed to give an identity (other than their State), they might opt for their religious denomination (with utmost reluctance in Europe) and thus, when a European says that he is Christian it is sort of family name, the latest in heritage, as cathedrals, old churches, and the paintings, sculptures, and music of the Renaissance period. Christianity cannot be used as identification because it won’t do: most of the US citizens also claim to be Christians, as is the case with Latin Americans; does this means that they could also be considered Europeans or European civilization roots?

Modern Europe is democratic, secular, with laws guaranteeing free religious beliefs, free speech, gathering, and opinions, human rights, sexual liberty, welfare states, open borders and travel.  Modern Europe is anathema to the principles and practices of Christian Churches.  Christianity must be glad that the modern European civilization is giving it not just a mere face lift but a totally different identity.

Note 1: This topic was inspired by the last chapter in the French book “When the world became Christian” by late Paul Veyne.

Note 2:  Ten years a go, Europe was the scene of large genocide; not just between “Christians and Moslems” but among Christians of Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox on the basis of “ethnic cleansing” in former Yugoslavia.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

October 2020
M T W T F S S
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031  

Blog Stats

  • 1,426,741 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.adonisbouh@gmail.com

Join 774 other followers

%d bloggers like this: